Red Alert - The War Within

wogma rating: Watch, but no rush (?)

quick review:

Red Alert A call for action. Suneil Shetty as the meek-but-aware low-ranker in a naxal outfit tells his comrades, "Wake up before it's too late. Wake up before we kill or worse, corrupt each other completely. Wake up before we lose sight of what it is we are fighting for and against." All this in a non-preachy tone and with some awesome performances.

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Running time: 120 minutes
Genres: Musical
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Different story, different issue, different aesthetics, different acting by lead actors - a film deserves applause just for doing this. Now it's a different story that it doesn't completely connect or make you care for the characters let alone the issue at hand. A lot seems missing despite what looks like best efforts.

I'm not asking for a more complete coverage of the events in the regions facing Naxal protests. Considering that Red Alert tries to maintain balance between the two perspectives, asking for anything more is way beyond a 2-hour film's purview.

I'm not complaining about the pace at which the events unfold. In fact, it is a wonderful depiction of what an unwilling member of a rebelling faction goes through. How like in any other group, peer pressure makes him do things he's not convinced of. He might seem like the 'group idiot' but he does have an opinion, a balanced thought-process which has withstood brainwashing. And he's brave too. I understand and appreciate all of this and yet the pathos doesn't come through.

One could have blamed Suneil Shetty's performance for the 'something missing' feeling, but that doesn't seem fair. He holds one expression, and maybe that's the only expression his character needs. It's something about the writing and portrayal of this character that doesn't completely make me root for him. This would have been a great reaction to have if he were a gray character, but that's not true either.

The rest of the characters are very superficially described. Like every other Hindi film, their tranformations and character arcs are far from convincing. Given these pre-defined changes, the acting though, takes the pinch away. Kudos to Sameera Reddy for the complete shift in image. The rest of the cast has always been appreciated for their accomplishments.

I'd say this film works as a documentation of the times and situations we live in. Our apathy towards what our eyes don't see and what doesn't affect us directly. Our ennui with every-day headlines that make it to the newspapers. Also, you cannot miss the comment on futility of war - even if it is within the boundaries of one country. And in this atmosphere is the story of a simple man who is constantly interrogating himself and those around him about the rationalizations of their behavior.

Ps. I'll skip the notepad section for this one because it's the intention of making the film that I'm convinced about and I cannot make myself look for the loopholes in the script or presentation.

- meeta, a part of the audience

26 reviewers(?) - 13 yays 5 so-so 8 nays

Warning: clicking on "full review" will take you to an external website that could contain spoilers.

Thumbs up, by Bobby Sing, Bobby Talks : ...or all those thinking minds who can well understand and appreciate meaningful, realistic cinema. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Taran Adarsh, Bollywood Hungama : ...immense care has been taken to present them as characters, instead of capitalising on their star status... full review

Thumbs up, by Bollyfan, Cinemaa Online : ...The film is presented as the POV of Narsimha (Suniel Shetty), a commoner and the film’s protagonist. This allows it to steer clear of any ideological alliance towards either side of the conflict. ... full review

Thumbs up, filmi cafe : ...The film’s situations are straight out of newspaper headlines and Mahadevan has handled the subject maturely.... full review

Thumbs up, by Divya Solgama, : ...making the screenplay take the upper edge than the storyline... full review

Thumbs up, by Sarita Tanwar, MiD DAY : ...Once you have established the protagonist's dilemma, the film continues to meander.... full review

Thumbs up, by Satyen K Bordoloi, Now : ... Between this hero-worship of Roy and the hyperbole of Singh, lies "Red Alert".... full review

Thumbs up, by K K Rai, STARDUST : ...Seema Biswas, the veteran bollywood actress who had dared to bare in Shekhar Kapur’s ‘Bandit Queen’ once again proved her credentials as one of the finest actresses of tinsel town... full review

Thumbs up, by Spicypopcorn, Sulekha : ...The hot babe of Bollywood Sameera Reddy, has done an image make over role, appearing without makeup ... full review

Thumbs up, The Friday Freak : ...What does make one wonder is the editing of the movie, where in the climax two people talk about a sequence that one is sure one never saw in the movie. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Nikhat Kazmi, Times of India : ...The film is naturally made within the confines of our Censor Board which means it must tread the middle path or cross-over to politically correct terrain ... full review

Thumbs up, by SpiceZee Bureau, Zee News : ...portrays the transformation of Suniel from an apolitical cook to an enlightened person as the film presents him in a never-seen-before role... full review

So-So, by Aparajita Ghosh, Apun Ka Choice : ...not without the trappings of commercial cinema, but the film does pack in ample drama, thrills, action and emotion to keep you engrossed.... full review

So-So, by Rachit Gupta, Filmfare : ...ahadevan’s vision to create a common man’s dilemma amidst civil discord fails in part with Suneil’s beefy appearance and in part with his treatment of scenes. ... full review

So-So, by Sanjukta Sharma, Live Mint : ...Fiction can often give us the “why” and “how” of a subject we are already forced to confront, more powerfully and imaginatively. Red Alert doesn’t quite do that.... full review

So-So, by Nishtha Bhatnagar, News X : ...It sort of constructs the image you have had about these extremists vividly for you.... full review

So-So, by Sonia Chopra, Sify Movies : ...The ruthlessness of both sides is evident. T... full review

Thumbs down, by Faiz Ullah, DearCinema : ...ed Alert is a product of a very immature and reductionist way of looking at the crisis. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Johnson Thomas, DNA : ...the effect is not as yielding as it could have been.... full review

Thumbs down, by Pankaj Sabnani, : ...You don't really know what the group actually wants. There is just a meek dialogue 'there's a difference between terrorism and revolution. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Mayank Shekhar, Hindustan Times : ...The contemporary view on this screen is relatively spot-on: the camera neatly pans across honestly chosen locations. The vision is but peripheral, and the viewpoint, entirely missing... full review

Thumbs down, by Kaveree Bamzai, india today : ...Shetty, bulked up though he is, tries hard to get the body language of a defeated farmer right... full review

Thumbs down, by Mihir Fadnavis, : ...full marks to director Anant Mahadevan for favouring hand-held cameras... full review

Thumbs down, by Komal Nahta, koimoi : ...Aruna Raje’s story and screenplay are both, hard-hitting and lay emphasis on authenticity... full review

Thumbs down, by Abhishek Mande, Rediff : ...Suniel Shetty portrays this despair very effectively -- at least for most of the first half. ... full review

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This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: Lots
  • Language: A few swear words
  • Nudity & Sexual content: Reference to rape. A hint of a making-out scene
  • Concept: That of displaying the futility of war
  • General Look and Feel: Grim and brown.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

Lead Actors:
Character Artists:
Music Director:

Red Alert - The War Within - Cast, crew, links

Official Sites:
Music Director:
Running time:
120 minutes

Comments (1)

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two thumbs up..
i like it

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